Barry Jackson

Heat summons to Miami some guards and small forwards that intrigue them

Even though the Heat has only one draft pick, 14th in the first round, Miami has booked private workouts with more than a dozen players considered outside that range – either late first-rounders, second-rounders or players who could go undrafted.

And among swingmen, count FSU’s Dwayne Bacon among players who have piqued Miami’s interest.

Heat President Pat Riley and executives from other teams watched Bacon and several others during a recent workout arranged by his agency, Roc Nation.

But the Heat wanted a second look and summoned Bacon to team headquarters Thursday for a workout also featuring one potential Heat first-round pick at No. 14 (T.J. Leaf) and several other prospects projected to go lower.

Hoopshype.com has Bacon going 25th in the first round; others have him coming off the board in the second round.

Miami could acquire a second-round pick, with up to $3 million available to forward to another team in exchange.

Bacon, 6-7, averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and one steal in 28.8 minutes as an FSU sophomore this past season. He shot 45.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on threes (57 for 171).

He needs to improve his ball-handling; he had 70 turnovers, 61 assists last season.

“Bacon had a strong freshman season as a scorer, but he didn't show enough improvement in his sophomore year to give his draft stock a major lift,” ESPN’s Chad Ford said. “He's a good athlete and can take over games, but his jump shot is streaky, and he doesn't have elite size for his position. He's in the Nos. 40-50 range.”

According to hoophype.com’s Alex Kennedy, “Bacon’s stock has been on the rise throughout the pre-draft process. Prior to the Roc Nation Sports Pro Day, he turned heads at the NBA combine in Chicago. He measured in at just over 6-foot-6, with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and 8-foot-7.5 standing reach. His 10-inch hands also stood out, as they were the widest of any small forward this year’s combine.

“At the combine, Bacon also performed very well in the event’s athletic tests. Among the small forwards at the combine, Bacon ranked second in the agility drill (11.7 seconds), second in the sprint drill (3.22 seconds) and third in the max vertical test (36.5 inches).”

Bacon told Kennedy: “I definitely feel like I’m ready to make a day-one impact in the NBA. I don’t back down from that. That’s one of the reasons why I went back to school this past year, so I could be more prepared. Rather than leaving school after my freshman year and getting picked based on my potential, I wanted to return and prepare more. Now, I feel like I’m NBA-ready. I can give a team whatever they need right now.”

Among other potential second-round (or undrafted) small forwards/shooting guards who have been scheduled for private Heat workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena, according to sources close to the players:

• Notre Dame’s 6-8 forward V.J. Beachem: 14.5 ppg as a senior, 42.2 percent shooting, 36.1 percent on threes – 87 for 241. A four-year player for the Fighting Irish.

• South Carolina’s 6-6 shooting guard P.J. Dozier: 13.9 ppg, 4.8 rebounds, 40.7 percent shooting, but 29.8 percent on threes last season (42-141).

• Indiana 6-4 shooting guard James Blackmon: 17.0 ppg as a junior last season, 47.7 percent from the field and 42.3 percent on threes (91 for 215).

• Ohio State 6-6 swingman Marc Loving: 12.3 ppg as a senior. Shot 41.7 percent from the field and 38.2 percent on threes (58 for 152).

• SMU 6-6 swingman Sterling Brown: 13.4 ppg, 6.5 rebounds per game as a senior. Shot 46.9 percent from the field, 44.9 percent on threes (61-136).

• DePaul 6-5 shooting guard Billy Garrett Jr.: 14.9 ppg as a senior. Shot just 38.8 percent overall and 36.3 on threes (41-133).

• Cal 6-6 swingman Jabari Bird: 14.3 ppg as a senior. Shot 44.0 percent and 36.5 percent on threes (65-178).

The NBA has authorized teams to keep 17 players, two more than past years, with the caveat that the 16th and 17th players be signed to two-way contracts that would require them to spend most of the season with a D-League affiliate and no more than 45 days with their NBA team. Teams retain rights to those players, who are not permitted to have more than three years of NBA experience. This could allow the Heat to keep a developmental prospect at shooting guard or small forward. Here are a few points guards the Heat is looking at as potential developmental prospects.

This is the third post today. Please click here for Dolphins nuggets, including Dan Marino’s amusing advice to Ryan Tannehill, some under-the-radar Dolphins turning heads, some insight from Cam Wake and an eye-opening comment from Jason Taylor. And please click here for Marlins trade and draft news.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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